Michael Carrick has returned to the club where he cut his teeth as a footballer, to launch his managerial career as the Middlesbrough head coach.
The Tyneside-born former Manchester United and England midfielder was on the books at Boro as a nine-year-old, although he made his name at West Ham and Tottenham before a trophy-laden 12-year stay at Old Trafford which brought him five Premier League titles as well as Champions League and Europa League glory.
But having coached under José Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjær – and briefly taken interim charge at United – the 41-year-old has taken on his first club and is eager to get started.
Carrick, who will work alongside the first-team coach and former Boro manager Jonathan Woodgate, said: “I’m really excited to be here and to be part of a club with such a deep history and tradition. Middlesbrough was the first professional club I played for as a nine-year-old boy, so it’s a very special feeling to be back here as a head coach.
“Growing up in the north-east myself, I’m fully aware of what football means to people. It’s a real privilege for me to be in this position and to feel all the passion and enthusiasm you’ve got for the game and for Boro.
“I’ll give everything to help develop the team and keep moving the club forward and make you the supporters proud. I can’t wait to get started.”
The Championship club, who have not specified the length of contract they have handed Carrick, turned to him after dispensing with the services of Chris Wilder this month with the club lying inside the relegation zone.
They also spoke to the former Watford and Forest Green manager Rob Edwards among a series of potential candidates but the chairman, Steve Gibson, revealed the former Wallsend Boys’ Club player proved “the perfect fit”.
Gibson said: “We’re delighted to welcome Michael to the club. We had identified a number of potentials for the vacancy who we spoke with, and were impressed by all, but Michael was the outstanding candidate.
“Michael has the same values as the club and we are very much aligned in our ambitions. We see Michael as the perfect fit for us and he believes this is the right club at the right time.”
Boro are in 21st place in the table, only a point clear of the bottom three, after the goalless home draw with Huddersfield on Saturday, their fifth game under the interim manager Leo Percovich, who will take up the post of head of player pathway and development under Carrick.